India Grossly Underspent on Education, Health: Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor, former international diplomat, stressed on the need of a massive investment in public health sector particularly in the core level. Tharoor strongly advocated for devising a new mechanism where the government must build a relationship with various health insurance companies to take off the burden of insurance premium from the people especially the poor ones. He was speaking at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) here. “We are grossly under spending both on health and education sectors. Individuals are paying insurance premium from their own pockets. If a daily wage laborer is seriously ill, he often wipes out his entire fund for treatment. He sells all his property and eventually succumbs to his ailments. I wonder why can’t we invent something clever where government gets insured rather than the individual person,” Tharoor said.

Our government at the Center should massively invest at public sector hospitals including primary healthcare centers, community healthcare centers, district and city hospitals. Treatment should be free completely so that the poor can avail it without any documentation. He further added that if the government agrees to pay for every ones care, people coming to the hospitals would be benefitted. If indeed expenditure in healthcare tends to exceed what the government allocated there may be a creative formula where the government pays the insurance premium for the people to the companies directly. “The government needs to prioritize far more what has been done so far. Here I would not exempt my previous government because in past 70 years our expenditure on health and education sector had not been up to the mark,” senior Congress leader and former Union minister said.

Taking an instance, he mentioned that around 90 percent of expenditure of a crop insurance scheme ~ Fasal Bima Yojana goes to the insurance companies and only around 10 percent is paid out to the farmers. Tharoor also pointed out the necessity of a more logical education system in the country where the students get more freedom in choosing what they want to study. “Many parents would insist on their children doing what that they think is the best for their children. There is complete blindness on the part of the parents as to what their children are capable of. Our education is over regulated and under-covered in the higher education level and in school level it is far too focused on memorization to pass through the exams and not enough in creative thinking,” he said. “We don’t need a well filled mind. What we need is well formed mind, a mind that knows how to think rather than what taught to think,” he said. – Millennium Post

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